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The Learning Curve

February4

Discipline has always evaded me. I blame it on my inner artist. The creative gypsy I cannot seem to tame. I bought a book in my 20’s called ‘Discipline, the Glad Surrender’ but I never got around to reading it. Maybe I was afraid it would help. At 40-something I still struggle daily with the big D. The way I eat, my lack of exercise, how I spend my time and money. It’s all just so overwhelming. I try and fail and cannot seem to get back on the proverbial horse, without getting bucked off again.  The bottom line, it’s no fun. I don’t want to clean my house. I don’t want to balance my budget. But I want my house to be clean and my bank account to be full. In other words, I want to have my cake and eat it too!

I tell my husband I would make a great rich person. I’m really good at spending money I haven’t earned…and even the little bit I occasionally earn. As a Mom I have a fear of passing this less than admirable trait on to my girls. Yesterday my sweet and generous 12 year old was be-moaning  how she’d spent some money she’d earned. I started in lecturing, but it wasn’t exactly making her feel better. Sometimes I think I make my girls feel worse. I can be so blunt, so literal when trying to explain things sometimes. I have to remember to sprinkle my lessons with kindness, gentleness.

She was disappointed. I was disappointed for her. But I saw a teachable moment. I told her it was awesome that she was so generous that she’d spent the bulk of her money buying junk food and sodas for her friends at the sleepover she’d gone to. But I also told her that she could be generous without blowing her whole paycheck (so to speak). She had worked hard making her duck-tape creations and selling them. She had done well. But now she had little to show for it. I tried to explain the concept of saving some, blowing some and then maybe making a well thought out purchase. We talked about impulse buying and also how much things cost and how quickly they can add up.  It’s like the blind leading the blind though. I am familiar with these concepts, but I’m a hypocrite when it comes to putting them into practice. I am of the ‘eat drink and be merry’ variety. Only, when tomorrow DOES come and I haven’t, in fact, perished, I’m left scrambling as to what I’m going to buy groceries with.

This was bad enough in my 20’s when it was just me. But now my stupidity trickles down to my children. So we talked and I tried to explain what to do next time. I told her I understood her disappointment and that it was a hard lesson, but here’s what you can glean from it. It was hard not to just give her some more money. But to be honest, I don’t really have any to give her. And it’s just as well. I need to let her fail so she can learn. And hopefully, fingers crossed, she will grow up to be a much smarter adult as a result. It is hard raising children when you’re so flawed yourself. Some parents seem to do a better job than others. I know I’m not a total failure, but there’s still room for improvement, a lot to learn. Who knew being a Mom would mean learning alongside my children. They have surely taught me more than I’ve taught them.

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